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Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner

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Lise Meitner

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  1. Lise Meitner By: Anna, Whitney & Stephen

  2. 1878 - 1968

  3. Lise Meitner’s Biography

  4. Born November 7, 1878 in Vienna, Austria • Jewish family • Studied physics at the University of Vienna • Didn’t start until age 23 because of female education restrictions • First woman admitted to the University’s physics program • Ludwig Boltzmann, her teacher, inspired her in physics • Graduated with a doctorate in 1905

  5. Went to Berlin to work at Berlin’s Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry • Worked unpaid for many years • Women not allowed any official status • Met Otto Hahn, a chemist • They collaborated for 30 years • Worked with radioactive substances • Discovered protractinium together in 1918 • Began researching uranium’s possibilities together with Fritz Strassman

  6. Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn in their laboratory

  7. World War I • Volunteered as an x-ray nurse on the front lines • Her physics background • Was glad when war ended and she could continue working in Berlin • University of Berlin – salary equal to Hahn’s • Nazis revoked position in 1933 • Still worked at Kaiser Wilhelm Institute

  8. World War II • Germany conquered Austria in 1938 • Meitner fled to Sweden • She was Jew by birth, though not by religion • Had converted to Protestantism • Hahn continued experiments without her • Fritz Strassman

  9. In Stockholm, Sweden, she worked at Manne Siegbahn’s Institute • Little support – Siegbahn was prejudiced against women • A laboratory, but no other resources • Siegbahn more focused on building big machinery • Hahn and Meitner’s clandestine meeting • Visited Meitner’s nephew, Otto Frisch, in Denmark • Led to discovering nuclear fission • Splitting of the uranium atom

  10. Hahn and Strassman published the results in Germany • Meitner not listed as coauthor • Gave the chemical explanation • Meitner published physics explanation a month later

  11. The Nobel Prize Mistake • In 1944, the Nobel Prize was given to Otto Hahn • His discovery of fission • Meitner was ignored • After leaving Germany (because of the war), her efforts were downplayed

  12. Enrico Fermi Award • Awarded to Meitner, Hahn and Strassman in 1966 • Partially rectified the Nobel Prize Mistake

  13. Celebrated as “The Mother of the Atomic Bomb” • Contributed in nuclear fission experiments • Had no direct role in creating bombs • Had a pacifist view • Horrified at the brutality bombs inflicted

  14. Retired to Cambridge, England in 1960 • Died October 27, 1968

  15. After passing away in October 1968, her nephew Otto Frisch composed the inscription on her headstone. It reads "Lise Meitner: a physicist who never lost her humanity"

  16. Accomplishments

  17. Inspired by her teacher, physicist Ludwig Boltzmann, Meitner studied physics and became the second woman to obtain a doctoral degree in physics at the University of Vienna in 1905 • Women were not allowed to attend institutions of higher education in those days, but thanks to support from her parents, she was able to obtain private higher education, which she completed in 1901 • Following her doctoral degree, she rejected an offer to work in a gas lamp factory

  18. Encouraged by her father and backed by his financial support, she went to Berlin • Max Planck allowed her to attend his lectures, an unusual gesture by Planck, who until then had rejected any women wanting to attend his lectures • After one year, she became Planck's assistant

  19. During the first years she works as Planck’s assistant, she worked together with chemist Otto Hahn and discovered with him several new isotopes • In 1909 she presented two papers on beta-radiation

  20. In 1912 the research group Hahn-Meitner moved to the newly founded Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute (KWI) in Berlin • Worked without salary as a "guest" in Hahn's department of Radiochemistry • It was not until 1913, at age 35 that she got a permanent position at KWI

  21. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Chemistry

  22. 1914-1916,the first part of World War I, she served as a nurse handling X-ray equipment • She returned to Berlin and her research in 1916

  23. In 1917, she and Hahn discovered the first long-lived isotope of the element protactinium, for which she was awarded the Leibniz Medal by the Berlin Academy of Sciences • That year, Meitner was given her own physics section at the KWI for Chemistry

  24. In 1922, she discovered the cause, known as the Auger effect, of the emission from surfaces of electrons with 'signature' energies • The effect is named for Pierre Victor Auger, a French scientist who independently discovered the effect in 1923

  25. In 1926, Meitner became the first woman in Germany to assume a post of full professor in physics, at the University of Berlin • There she undertook the research program in nuclear physics which eventually led to her co-discovery of nuclear fission in 1939, after she had left Berlin • She was praised by Albert Einstein as the "German Marie Curie"

  26. In 1930, Meitner taught a seminar on nuclear physics and chemistry with Leó Szilárd • With the discovery of the neutron in the early 1930s, speculation arose in the scientific community that it might be possible to create elements heavier than uranium (atomic number 92) in the laboratory

  27. With that knowledge, a scientific race began between Ernest Rutherford in Britain, Irène Joliot-Curie in France, Enrico Fermi in Italy, and the Meitner-Hahn team in Berlin • At the time, all concerned believed that this was abstract research for the probable honor of a Nobel prize • None suspected that this research would culminate in nuclear weapons

  28. Meitner was acting director of the Institute for Chemistry when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 • After Meitner was lucky to escape, she went to Stockholm, where she took up a post at Manne Siegbahn's laboratory, despite the difficulty caused by Siegbahn's prejudice against women in science • There she established a working relationship with Niels Bohr, who travelled regularly between Copenhagen and Stockholm and with that she continued to correspond with Hahn and other German scientists

  29. In Sweden, Meitner was first active at Siegbahn's Nobel Institute for Physics, and at the Swedish Defence Research Establishment and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, where she had a laboratory and participated in research on R1 • R1 was Sweden's first nuclear reactor

  30. While working on Nuclear Fission Meitner first realized that Einstein's famous equation, E = mc2 explained the source of the tremendous releases of energy in nuclear fission

  31. While it was politically impossible for exiled Meitner to publish jointly with Hahn in 1939, Hahn and Strassman had sent the manuscript of their paper to Naturwissenschaften in December 1938, reporting they had detected the element barium after bombarding uranium with neutrons; simultaneously

  32. Meitner, and her nephew, Otto Frisch, correctly interpreted their results as being nuclear fission and published their paper in Nature • Meitner’s nephew Frisch confirmed this experimentally on January 13th, 1939

  33. While Meitner recognized the possibility for a chain reaction of enormous explosive potential, she refused an offer to work on the project at Los Alamos, declaring "I will have nothing to do with a bomb!“ • Meitner said that Hiroshima had come as a surprise to her, and that she was "sorry that the bomb had to be invented"

  34. On November 15th, 1945 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Hahn had been awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of nuclear fission • Some historians who have documented the history of the discovery of nuclear fission believe Meitner should have been awarded the Nobel Prize with Hahn

  35. On a visit to the USA in 1946, she received the honor of "Woman of the Year" by the National Press Club and had dinner with President Harry Truman and others at the National Women's Press Club • She lectured at Princeton, Harvard and other US universities, and was awarded a number of honorary doctorates

  36. In 1947, a personal position was created for Meitner at the University College of Stockholm with the salary of a professor and funding from the Council for Atomic Research • In 1949, she received the Max Planck Medal of the German Physics Society • Meitner was nominated to receive the prize three times • She also became a Swedish citizen in 1949

  37. In 1951, Meitner’s status was changed to that of a Swedish member after she was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1945 • In 1960, Meitner was awarded the Wilhelm Exner Medal

  38. In 1967, she was awarded The Austrian Decoration for Science and Art • In 1966 Hahn, Strassmann and Meitner were jointly awarded the Enrico Fermi Award • Because of Meitner’s health, she was not able to travel to the US to receive the award and relatives had to present it to her

  39. In 1992, element 109, the heaviest known element in the universe, was named Meitnerium (Mt) in her honor • Many consider Lise Meitner the "most significant woman scientist of the 20th Century"

  40. All in all, Lise Meitner received 21 scientific honors and awards for her work (including 5 honorary doctorates and membership of many academies). In 1947 she received the Award of the City of Vienna for science. She was the first female member of the scientific class of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. And in 2008, the NBC defence school of the Austrian Armed Forces established the "Lise Meitner" award

  41. Nuclear Reactor

  42. R1, Sweden’s first Nuclear Reactor

  43. Nuclear Bomb

  44. Modern Nuclear Weapon

  45. Atomic Bomb

  46. Works Cited • • • • • • • • • •,_Lise@844904033.html